With COVID-19 restrictions gradually being lifted all over the UK, it looks like things are beginning to get back to normal. But for a lot of businesses, the financial effects of COVID-19 are still very real.

So let’s take a look at what support is still available for UK businesses that have struggled because of restrictions.

We’ll be talking about COVID-19 specific support, like the:

  • Recovery Loan Scheme
  • Coronavirus Additional Restrictions Grant
  • Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)
  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

And some general financial support like:

  • Business rates relief
  • Universal credit

Recovery Loan Scheme

The Recovery Loan Scheme supports UK businesses as they recover from the disruption of COVID-19. It’s available until 31 December 2021.

You can apply for a loan if your business:

  • is trading in the UK
  • would be viable were it not for the pandemic
  • has been adversely impacted by the pandemic
  • is not in collective insolvency proceedings (unless your business is in scope of the Northern Ireland Protocol in which case different eligibility rules may apply)

You can’t apply if your business is a:

  • bank, building society, insurer, or reinsurer (insurance brokers are okay)
  • public-sector body
  • state-funded primary and secondary school

Each business can receive:

  • a term loan or overdraft worth £25,001 – £10 million
  • invoice or asset finance worth £1,000 – £10 million 

Overdrafts and invoice finances last for up to 3 years. Term loans and asset finances last for up to 6 years.

To apply for recovery loan schemes, you’ll need to find an accredited lender on the British Business Bank website.

Coronavirus Additional Restrictions Grant (England only)

The Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) gives local councils funding to support businesses affected by restrictions during COVID-19.

The local councils decide themselves which businesses will receive funding, but they’re encouraged to help businesses that have been affected by the extended restrictions, such as:

  • travel and tourism
  • wedding industries
  • nightclubs
  • theatres
  • events industries
  • wholesalers
  • English language schools
  • Breweries
  • freelance and mobile businesses including caterers, events, hair, beauty and wedding related businesses

You can’t get funding if:

  • your business is in administration, insolvent or has been struck off the Companies House register
  • you have exceeded the permitted subsidy allowance

What is the subsidy allowance?

The ARG is covered by 3 subsidy allowances:

  • Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance – up to £335,000 over any period of 3 years
  • COVID-19 Business Grant Allowance – up to £1,600,000
  • COVID-19 Business Grant Special Allowance – if you’ve reached your limits under the previous two, you can apply for up to a further £9,000,000, if conditions are met.

To apply, you’ll have to contact your local council through your local council’s website.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

This scheme is available if you’re self-employed or a member of a partnership and you’ve been impacted by COVID-19. It’s not available for limited companies or trusts. 

You can apply if:

  • You were trading in both tax years, 2019-2020, and 2020 – 2021
  • You submitted your 2019 to 2020 tax return on or before 2 March 2021
  • Your trading profits are £50,000 or less
  • Your trading profits are at least equal to your non-trading income (any money you make outside your business, like a part-time job or pension).
  • You intend to keep trading in 2021 to 2022
  • You think your trading profits will suffer between 1 May 2021 and 30 September 2021

Some personal circumstances can affect your eligibility. 

When you apply, you’ll have information about your business turnover – things like takings, fees, sales, or money earned or received by your business.

Specifically, you’ll need to know your turnover for:

  • April 2020 to April 2021
  • either 2019 to 2020 or 2018 to 2019

HMRC will compare these figures to work out how much you’ll get. Look here if you need some help figuring out your turnover.

You won’t need to know your turnover if you started trading in 2019 to 2020 and didn’t trade in all of these years:

  • 2018 to 2019
  • 2017 to 2018
  • 2016 to 2017

How much you’ll get

HMRC will compare the two turnover figures to see how much you’ve potentially lost. They can then allow 2 levels of grant depending on the losses to your trading profits.

Higher level

If your turnover is down by 30% or more, you can claim 80% of 3 months’ normal trading profits. The maximum allowed is £7,500. This level also applies if you started trading in 2019-2020. 

Lower level

If your turnover is down by less than 30%, you can claim 80% of 3 month’s normal trading profits. The maximum allowed is £2,850.

Click here to find out how to apply for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The government will help you pay your employee wages that have been paid throughout the restrictions. Click here to find out how. 

Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

You might be able to use this scheme to claim back sick pay paid to employees who were off work because of COVID, or COVID symptoms. 

Click here to find out if you can make a claim. 

Business rates relief

Certain businesses like retail, hospitality, and leisure were hit particularly hard by COVID, so they can apply for relief from their business rates.

Business rates are handled by local councils, so check out the links below for more information depending on where you live in the UK:

Universal credit

Universal Credit is a monthly payment to help with your living costs. There are a lot of criteria for applying, but it’s worth checking out for small business owners who are struggling. 

You can find out if you’re eligible for Universal Credit on the HMRC website. If you find out you’re not eligible, there are some other basic benefits you can apply for. 

Keep track of your finances with Countingup

COVID has made it more important than ever to keep track of your finances. 

The Countingup business current account makes it easy to manage all your financial data in one simple app. The app comes with free built-in accounting software that automates the time-consuming aspects of bookkeeping and taxes. 

You’ll receive real-time insights into your cash flow, profit and loss reports, tax estimates, and the ability to create invoices in seconds. 

You can also share your bookkeeping with your accountant instantly without worrying about duplication errors, data lags or inaccuracies. Seamless, simple, and straightforward.
Find out more here.

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